The severe weather event that will commence this afternoon will continue into Friday. The threat zone will extend from Kentucky to the central Gulf Coast. Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; and New Orleans, La.; are amongst the cities, towns and rural areas the intense thunderstorms will target.

Any strong thunderstorms that start Friday will be the remains of the severe weather that erupts late today into tonight. More powerful thunderstorms will fire during the midday and afternoon hours. The thunderstorms will then reach the southern Appalachians Friday evening.

Damaging winds, large hail, downpours and dangerous tornadoes will accompany the most intense thunderstorms. Destruction may result as the Easter holiday weekend gets underway.

Those holiday travelers passing through the South on Friday are amongst the people that should review safety tips in the event of an immediate severe weather threat.

Story by AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski